Even though the Thrashers played without benched leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk, they ended the Devils' three-game winning streak.
Atlanta coach Bob Hartley benched Kovalchuk after the All-Star was late to a team meeting. But the Thrashers never trailed and avoided a third straight loss.
New Jersey quickly answered Atlanta's first two goals as the teams scored four times in a 2:13 span of the second period.
But a high-sticking penalty on acting captain Scott Niedermayer proved costly for the Devils as Heatley tipped defenseman Garnet Exelby 's wrist shot from the point between the pads of goaltender Martin Brodeur for his fifth goal of the season.